Rochas laments Madumere’s “betrayal”
Imo State former deputy governor Madumere’s case attracted some attention because the same fate befell his predecessor, Jude Agbaso, who was also removed in similar circumstances during the first tenure of Governor Rochas Okorocha. Ironically, Madumere was the beneficiary of that dramatic episode.
What happened to Madumere was least expected because of the cordial relationship between him and his erstwhile bosom friend. Madumere rose from being Okorocha’s private chief of staff, handling all his private businesses until Okorocha became governor of Imo State. As expected, Madumere followed his boss to Owerri, becoming the official chief of staff until 2013 when he was made deputy governor, unlike Agbaso, who was foisted on Okorocha by political expediency.
Madumere became a natural choice as Okorocha’s deputy after Agbaso’s exit.
Until the coup that saw him fall from his exalted position, the expectation of Imo people was that Okorocha would naturally anoint his deputy as his successor, given the political history of the state. Madumere comes from Owerri zone that had only produced governors for Imo State for less than two years compared to Okigwe and Orlu zones that had produced governors for eight and 16 years respectively. So, it was a thing too difficult for the Owerri zone to bear when the governor chose to support his chief of staff and son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, as his successor.
With the support of his people, Madumere threw his cap into the ring, jettisoning the proposal by his boss to contest the Owerri senatorial seat instead. He soon found allies in Imo APC stakeholders, a breakaway faction of the ruling party mostly made up of former aides of Okorocha who earlier fell out with him.
In Madumere, the ‘Allied Forces’, as they later came to be known, found legitimacy. They would always flaunt him to make a point that if Okorocha’s deputy and trusted ally could dump him, then it was a pointer to the genuineness of their claims.
To Okorocha, the ‘betrayal’ by Madumere was not what he could bear and so it was not unexpected when he ensured that Madumere got the boot. He saw it as the unkindest cut of all. Okorocha himself alluded to the fact that in the whole political drama in Imo State, what pained him most was the fact that his ‘son’ betrayed him.
Loyalty to Kwankwaso sparks off Ganduje-Abubakar feud
Professor Hafiz Abubakar resigned as Kano State deputy governor and Commissioner for Education on August 4, 2018 over allegations of disrespect and injustice meted on him by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
Prof Abubakar, in his resignation letter dated August 5, 2018, said the decision was taken due to ‘irreconcilable differences’ on matters relating to governance and government operations.
The former deputy governor added that his advice to the governor had been replied with persecution and injustice, and that he endured “immeasurable and unjustifiable humiliation” for over two and a half years on issues of governance and the desire to keep government on track.
Abubakar earlier petitioned the police over alleged threats to his life, a development that made the police to beef up security around him.
Governor Ganduje, in a swift reaction, said his deputy resigned for fear of impeachment by the state House of Assembly. Ganduje, in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, said Abubakar’s resignation followed a decision by 30 out of the 40 legislators in the House of Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against him over false allegations and undermining the state government. The deputy governor, the statement added, was accused of making unguarded comments capable of causing disaffection, particularly in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the state in general.
The statement said the deputy governor had publicly forsaken the Ganduje administration and sworn allegiance to his political godfather, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso. Before taking the final decision to resign, the House of Assembly had on Monday, July 30, 2018 attempted to impeach the deputy governor.
Professor Abubakar, a loyalist of Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, had been at loggerheads with Governor Ganduje.
Pundits say his loyalty to Kwankwaso and the defection of his benefactor were the real reasons why he had faced ‘political persecution’ from the governor.
The political relationship between Ganduje and Abubakar became sour in December last year after a video clip went viral on social media featuring Prof. Abubakar expressing his intention not join ticket with Ganduje in 2019.
Gidado quits over ‘dampened spirit, waning zeal’
Since the former Bauchi State deputy governor, Engineer Nuhu Gidado, resigned a few months ago, he has remained silent about his next political move. Gidado, who has not been seen in the public for a while, is believed to be staying outside the state since he came back from Umrah (lesser hajj). The former deputy governor who is still a member of the ruling APC, has maintained relationship with Governor Abubakar and members of the party.
Although he had contested for governorship in the past, it is not unclear whether he will run for any position in 2019. But pundits believe that his resignation couldn’t have come without any cogent reason. Gidado however gave reasons for his resignation in a letter to Governor Mohammed Abubakar.
“Ordinarily, I should have remained up to the end of the tenure, but, with the current dampened spirit and waning zeal as it relates to my official engagements, my continued stay will not be fair and truthful to you as my brother and leader.
“In this regard, I feel sure that Your Excellency will readily recollect the most recent one – on – one discussion we had, precisely on Thursday, April 19th, 2018 in your office where among other issues I expressed to you my contemplation to ‘step aside’ if need be in order to free my conscience. I regret to say that it has become necessary to yield to that inner calling, and may this development be in accordance with the blessed will and guidance of Allah (SWT) Amen,” he wrote.
Other deputy governors who quit since 1999 under various circumstances
Alhaji Ibrahim Kwatalo – resigned as deputy governor of Jigawa State in 2002
Chief Iyiola Omisore, the deputy governor of Osun State became the first deputy governor to be impeached since 1999. The state House of Assembly found him guilty of breach of oath of office and conflict of interest with the state government.
The lawmakers claimed it was wrong of him to sue the government over a contract of $1.5 million and divulging official secrets. Bisi Akande, the governor, said he had nothing to do with the impeachment.
Dr. Chris Ekpenyong was deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State until June 2005. The next state to bite the impeachment bug was Akwa Ibom State. The not-so-cordial relationship between the then governor Victor Attah and his deputy degenerated.
Despite efforts by the then president Olusegun Obasanjo and the PDP to halt the impeachment, the state House of Assembly voted to impeach him in June 2005. Some of the charges against him include: Absence during Democracy Day celebration to host a meeting in his home, using his position to award a lucrative contract to his company, Incarnate Construction Ltd, managing the affairs of another private company, FREKEM Mercantile Ltd, while still a deputy governor and assaulting a PDP member, Paula Usoro and a DSS operative, Kufre Ekpenyong.
Abiodun Aluko was Ekiti State deputy governor until September 2005. Governor Ayo Fayose was alleged to have instigated the removal of his deputy in his first stint as governor of the state.
The State House of Assembly impeached Aluko after finding him guilty of 16 offenses. The lawmakers claimed all the offenses were grounds for impeachment.
Mrs. Biodun Olujimi also quit as Ekiti State deputy governor in October 2006 after succeeding Aluko. Governor Ayo Fayose had got on the wrong side of President Obasanjo and the president decided he had had enough of Fayose. The Ekiti State House of Assembly came under pressure to impeach the governor and his deputy. Twenty-four out of the 26 members of the House of Assembly found both of them guilty of several crimes including embezzling funds for a bogus poultry program. In the end, only Mrs. Olujimi was victim of the war between Obasanjo and Fayose.
Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako resigned as deputy governor of Sokoto State after governor Attahuru Bafarawa accepted his resignation on March 8, 2006.
Otunba Olufemi Pedro was Lagos State deputy governor until May 2007, when he got on the wrong side of Bola Tinubu, his principal, because he refused to accept Tinubu’s decision on the choice of next governor of the state. Pedro had defected to the Labour Party to contest the governorship election against Tinubu’s chosen heir, Tunde Fashola.
After the election which he lost, Pedro got an impeachment notice from the House of Assembly. He promptly sent in his resignation letter, but Tinubu and the lawmakers rejected the letter. He was impeached a day after submitting the letter.
Alhaji Garba Gadi occupied the position of deputy governor of Bauchi State till August 2009 when things came to a head between him and then governor Isa Yuguda.
Gadi refused to toe the line of his boss and defect to the PDP from the ANPP that brought them to power. The state House of Assembly quickly constituted a panel on the orders of the governor to start impeachment proceedings. He was subsequently impeached. But a High Court in Bauchi re-instated him a year later (June 2010) because of irregularities in the proceedings leading to his impeachment. All his entitlements while he was out of office were to be paid to him.
Peremobowei Ebebi was Bayelsa State deputy governor until June 2010. The then governor of the state was able to get the required two-thirds of members of the House of Assembly to impeach him as deputy governor after 10 impeachable offenses bordering on misconduct and abuse of office were brought against him. He was found guilty of nine. However, Mr. Ebebi tried to preempt the impeachment by asking a court to halt the process. That move failed. However, about 8 months later, an Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt nullified the impeachment and ordered that he be reinstated.
Sani Abubakar was deputy governor of Taraba State until October 2012. At the height of an impeachment proceeding, a war of words between him and the House of Assembly made it look like then governor Danbaba Suntai was just an uninterested observer. But like all impeachments of deputy governors, it later emerged that the lawmakers were simply doing the bidding of a man they loved working with.
Rumours at the time were that Suntai gave the lawmakers N100 million to remove Abubakar from office. They denied it of course, and objected to the notion that the impeachment was Suntai’s idea. Sani Abubakar was charged and found guilty of fraud and abuse of office.
Jude Agbaso was deputy governor of Imo State till March 2013. He dared to challenge Governor Rochas Okorocha’s right to go for a second tenure, citing an agreement that stipulated that Okorocha would rule Imo State for only four years. Politicians don’t abide by such agreements, especially after getting elected, and the House of Assembly was rubbed in to do what needed to be done to Agbaso. All but one of the 26 lawmakers in the state House of Assembly voted to impeach him. The main charge against him bordered on corrupt enrichment, demanding and collecting about N450 million as bribe from the construction firm responsible for the rehabilitation of Sam Mbakwe Road in the state capital, Owerri.
Alhaji Ali Olanusi was until April 2015 the Ondo State deputy governor. A few days before the presidential election in 2015, Ali Olanusi, the deputy governor of the state, defected to the APC. This enraged his boss, Olusegun Mimiko, who had defected to the PDP from the Labour Party and expected his deputy to follow his path. So, the House of Assembly was called in to do a job. They impeached Olanusi despite a subsisting court ruling halting proceedings. Two years later in March 2017, a court declared the impeachment illegal and restored Olanusi to his office. But it was too late for him as his tenure with Mimiko had already elapsed. He however was paid all his entitlements for the period out of office and would receive all allowances due to an ex-deputy governor.
Sunday Onyebuchi was in office as Enugu State deputy governor until August 2014. Then governor, Chime Sullivan, didn’t like his attitude, and decided to do something decisive about it. Sullivan publicly accused Onyebuchi of gross misconduct and sought the assistance of the House of Assembly to investigate the allegations and impeach him if found guilty. The special House panel investigated and found him guilty. The whole House abided by the findings of the panel and proceeded to impeach him. However, Sunday Onyebuchi had already gone to court to halt the proceedings.
Over a year later, in December 2015, a High Court declared the impeachment illegal. By then though, Sullivan had already completed his tenure as governor. But the court ordered the state government to restore his title as deputy governor and all benefits for the period he was not in office.